A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life. -Thomas Jefferson
Hey y’all! I wrote a blog about Paris already on my groups blog site, so here is the link to that: http://betheluniveuropeterm.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/paris-more-like-paradise/
I will although, be doing an extended version here as well 🙂
So, Paris was truly the most enchanting city I have ever encountered. Before my group made our way to Paris we had heard lots of negative things like, “Parisians are rude.” or “It’s a really dirty city.” and we began to form preconceived notions about what Paris would be like. Therefore, a lot of us had really low expectations for Paris. But, let me just say that Paris’ dazzling charm comes out at every turn, the city is incredible.
Our first night, we made our way to our hotel and then quickly gathered our things to head off to a free organ concert at the Notre Dame (Not to be confused with the school in Indiana), below is a picture of what we saw as we approached the church… It was breathtaking. In Intercultural Communications, one of the classes we are taking while abroad we learned about the phases of culture shock, one of them being fascination, you can move between the many phases and for many of us, we shifted right back into that fascination phase in Paris. We were awestruck by all that we saw and how could we not be? The city glows, it draws you in and makes you never want to leave. One look at the Eiffel Tower and you’re hooked.
As one of my favorite Minnesotans F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older – intelligence and good manners.” He is more than right.
So here is the Notre Dame at night:
So, skip ahead to my first full day in Paris. the majority of our group went to Artist’s Square, which is exactly what you would imagine, a square with artists in it, painting and selling their art. It was a really cool atmosphere to witness, artists everywhere painting other people, creating and selling. Before I reached the square I was able to see all of Paris… and boy did I fall in love with it. How can you not?
Here’s Artist’s Square.
One of the canvas’ being done in the square. I had brunch at a cafe in the square with Cat, Madeleine and Laura which was fun and then the four of us wandered down to find the Arc de Triomph.
We found it!
Then, we found the original Lady Liberty… France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty that resides on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. The statue is of Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. She bears a torch and a tablet evoking the law. The tablet on the statue in the United States bears the date of the Declaration of Independence. The French version, the original, is much smaller than the one they gave the U.S. but still impressive and beautiful.
At the Statue of Liberty (They two statues indeed have the same name, I was able to talk to some Parisians about it which was cool.) my group ran into another group of Bethel students from our group and we all headed off in search of the Eiffel Tower and I saw this along the way. The beauty of Paris at night is almost beyond words. Everything glows.
We found the bridge used in the inception movie.
And then, there it was… The Eiffel Tower. I can’t explain the feeling or the inspiration this tall tower inspires but it is pretty incredible.
So, some of us just sat in awe of it for awhile, we couldn’t seem to tear our eyes away from it but after awhile the hunger and cold forced us to search for a restaurant.
Can’t get enough of it.
Seriously, I was obsessed.
It even lights up on the hour every hour…
After everyone had dinner, a bunch of Bethel students met up to go ice skating on the Champs-Élysées at the “Christmas Festival” is what we all called it. This was such a blast! Some groups kept going back to go skating for nights after.
Austin and I
Tyler and I
Madeleine and I
Michael, Austin and I
The next day our whole group went to the Louvre, the largest museum in the world. It was a very overwhelming and stimulating experience. Some of the art you are seeing is 4,000 years old and there’s just no way to conceptualize or rap your mind around that time frame… It is a really surreal experience.
Brittany, the ultimate tourist.
Venus de Milo
My favorite room: The Apollo Gallery
It was so beautiful.
Proud to be an Aries.
The Louvre was packed
There was artists inside of the Louvre painting copies of famous paintings which was incredible to watch.
Then, I saw the Mona Lisa. Been there, done that.
Madeleine, Cat and I decided to have a little fun at the Louvre… hahaha
Then, we went to see the Napoleon Apartments. Lived in by Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine.
After the Louvre, we headed off in search of the lock bridge that puts all of the other lock bridges to shame. THE ORIGINAL LOCK BRIDGE. Where couples began placing locks on this bridge to signify their commitments to each other. Since, they have sprouted all around Europe.
Then we went back to see the Notre Dame in daylight. Still so beautiful.
But, at night some of us decided to find out what there was to do in Paris and so about 8 of us got ready and headed off to a jazz club! One of the most popular places to visit at night in Paris. The building dates to the 16th century, but became a jazz club in 1946. It was allegedly once used by Rosicrucians and by those linked to Freemasonry. Also, it claims to be the place the Templar’s met and hung out.
Beth, Brittany, Myself, Madeleine, Brooke.
Steph, Tyler and Austin came with us as well. We had dinner first… some of our group tried Escargot, snails…
I played it safe.
This was the Jazz Club:
Cat and Tyler dancing.
Madeleine and a man who made all of us dance with him…
Me dancing with that man… lol he was nice.
Madeleine, Brittany and I at the Jazz club.
The jazz club was definitely a highlight to my time in Paris, Brittany and I stayed till the last set and were able to meet the band. A few of them were from the U.S., two were from Italy. It was such a cool experience.
So our four days in Paris were almost up and we had one group activity left, a trip up to the top of the Eiffel Tower… I think we all fell in love with Paris all over again. This is Brittany and I at the top of the Eiffel Tower:
View from the top:
My favorite angle of the Eiffel Tower:
But, with all of that said, I learned a lot in Paris. I remembered what it was like to see things through child-like eyes, to absorb without judgement but with an open heart and open eyes and to accept a city for all that it is and appreciate it fully. It has been 3 long months well spent here in Europe but it can leave you very weary and homesick. The fact that all of us can still snap back into that fascination phase is so impressive to me. I love that all of us have not given up our senses of adventure and our seeking for meaningful experiences. To find the beauty in God’s creation everywhere, because it is always there. I couldn’t help but walk around the enormity of Paris and think of this verse, Isaiah 66: 2 “”For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.” Paris may be beautiful, the mountains in Zermatt might take my breath away but the Lord is infinitely more beautiful than all of that because He created those places. He didn’t have to bless us with all that He did but because He loves us, he did. I can’t help but stand in awe of God’s creation everywhere I go in Europe.
So, Parisians aren’t rude, the city isn’t dirty and the Eiffel Tower is actually all it’s cracked up to be.
“The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant.” -T.S. Eliot
Sadly, T.S. Eliot might be right, Paris is a hard act to follow but the United Nations tours in Geneva and the skiing in Zermatt hasn’t disappointed any of us yet! I am currently in Florence and will be posting a blog about Geneva and Zermatt, Switzerland soon. This is a busy time in my trip so bear with me! I will be home in 9 days!! Boy does time fly by… Till next post.